You might have seen it coming or it might have been a big surprise, but the truth remains -- getting fired wasn't your choice. What happens next, is. You can either wallow in misery and collect unemployment for the next 99 weeks, or make being fired the best thing that ever happened to you.
Why it's not so bad
A recent study found that only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their current job. That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group, in more than 22 years of studying the issue. Unfortunately, this also explains why so many people are collecting unemployment. It's not that the jobs aren't out there; it's that some people would rather get paid for doing nothing, than do something they hate for 40 hours each week.
If you find yourself among the 9 percent of Americans who are unemployed, don't despair. You can still get back in the game and actually make being fired the best thing that ever happened to you. Here's what to do now:
- Do something you love. Most people don't realize that instead of spending time and money to be immersed in the things they love, they can get paid to be immersed in those activities. And that is the case whether you want to work in sales, customer service, accounting, marketing or any other position.
- Just as they give samples at the grocery store hoping you'll like it and come back for more, job seekers must do the same thing. Find ways to give samples of the value you can bring to the place or industry in which you want to work. Volunteer for a half day, or one day per week in the industry you want to work. Write articles on the topic, or blog about it. Give, give, give. And if you give enough value, someone will give back to you in the form of a job offer.
- It's amazing how many people think filling out an application or sending in a resume and cover letter constitutes applying for a job. That's not enough anymore! Make the focus on how you can improve the company's bottom line. If you are applying for a $60,000 per year job, you have to be bringing at least $60,001 in great ideas and results to the table, or there's no reason for anyone to hire you. Obviously, it should be a whole bunch more than just that one dollar of value you are providing. Your projected value needs to be reflected in what you submit to a company when you apply for a job.
- If you weren't satisfied with the type of work you were doing previously, taking a job in the same field isn't going to fulfill you now -- or in the future! Use this down time to expose yourself to different situations that will help you figure out your purpose for existing. Volunteer, backpack around the world, read books on topics that interest you. Do whatever you can do to experience new things, so that when you choose your next job, you are fired up to be there every day.
Only you can make it happen
Our educational system is broken, the economy is stagnant, and unemployment is still high. It's possible that you may have taken classes you didn't care for and entered a field that didn't fulfill you. It's a shame that's the way things are, but that's the reality. And right now you have a choice.
If you are in the 9 percent of people who are not working, it's time to figure out what you want to do, find a way to do it, and bring tons of value to the table. Nobody is coming to the rescue, so you must build your own ship and take control of your life.
Laying you off was their choice. What you do after that is yours. If you do it right, becoming unemployed can be the best thing that ever happened to you. They chose; now you choose.
Next: Ask an Expert: How to Explain Being Fired From a Job
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